Burnsville, Minn., enhances its winter-maintenance activities

For the last several years, Dan Tobritzhofer had been using straight salt to treat public roadways. When he took a new job with the city of Burnsville, Minn., however, he looked toward his first season using an enhanced deicing product.

“Where I came from we’d been using straight white salt at different application rates depending upon the storm,” said Tobritzhofer, street superintendent for the city. “Everyone down here in Dakota County really swears by this enhanced deicer product and says that it works really well.”

Called ClearLane enhanced deicer and produced by Cargill Deicing Technology , the enhanced deicer is a salt-based product that’s different than regular rock salt because it contains a PNS-approved corrosion inhibitor, pre-wetting agent and coloring agent. These chemical additives help keep roads clear by providing a faster reaction time and longer residual effects as well as protect distribution equipment from damp salt corrosion.

“We try to integrate the deicer with our brine and salt usage to save money, be efficient and reduce costs while getting the most out of all our materials,” Tobritzhofer said. “That’s really what I focus on, and I’m excited to use it and see how it goes.”

After enduring a particularly harsh winter, demanding numerous needs for ice control, Tobritzhofer and his team found the enhanced deicer an integral part of their winter-maintenance success.

“We didn’t start applying the deicer until temperatures reached 12 degrees or so,” he said. “And we could get by with much less product because the results were so effective. Even at these colder temps it actually stayed in place, adhered to the pavement and kept working after initial applications.”

Applying less of the product on roadways was an additional benefit the city experienced that proved cost effective as well.

“We tried to dial it down to 150 tons per lane-mile, which is double compared to our straight salt applications in warmer temperatures,” Tobritzhofer said. “That helps conserve the product and stretch our dollars. Plus, using less product is much better for the environment, which is another aspect we really liked.”

Last year the city applied about 2,400 tons over 230 lane-miles and still has 1,700 tons in storage for the coming season.

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